Volvo Trucks presents Vera autonomous electric vehicle for future transport solutions

Cornelia Mascio
Settembre 14, 2018

We're used to seeing autonomous vehicle concepts, and even autonomous trucks. Not good news for truckies but for the rest of us it should mean safer roads too, because machines don't get exhausted and have accidents.

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-biggest truck maker, presented a new self-driving electric truck on Wednesday, which it said should help respond to the boom in e-commerce and a shortage of freight drivers.

The company will initially test Vera trucks for repetitive tasks over short distances.

The full potential of the transport industry is yet to be seen.

"Everything suggests that the global need for transportation will continue to significantly increase in the coming decade", Volvo Trucks President Claes Nilsson said.

In order to secure a smoothly functioning goods flow system we also need to exploit existing infrastructure better than now.

The cabless solution is mainly aimed at use in towns and other urban areas because while the lack of cab does reduce weight, it is not so great in terms of aerodynamics, which is an important fuel saver at higher speeds. And Volvo Trucks envisages multiple Veras operating at the same site.

Operating at low speeds to "ensure maximum safety", Vera trucks are connected wirelessly to a central command centre, which keeps track of every vehicle's location, battery state, goods type, traffic flow, and other critical factors. "The solution utilises existing road infrastructure and load carriers, making it easier to recoup costs and allowing for integration with existing operations", Vice President Autonomous Solutions at Volvo, Mikael Karlsson said.

Volvo Trucks' Vera future transport solution is meant to be used for regular and repetitive tasks characterized by relatively short distances, large volumes of goods and high delivery precision.

First off the rank will by the Volvo FL Electric, a 16-tonner that can be configured with different battery packs for a capacity between 100 and 300 kWh, giving a range of up to 300 km.

Volvo Trucks in the near future will further develop the concept together with selected customers.

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